KARACHI: Abrar Khan’s successful touch in the dying seconds gave Pakistan a thrilling 32-30 win over defending champions India in the kabaddi semi-final of 3rd Asian Beach Games being played in Haiyang, China.
According to team coach Badshah Gul, Pakistan were leading 31-30 with only seconds to go and had Abrar been caught, the scores would have been level the game gone into extra time. Pakistan will now take on Iran – who beat Sri Lanka 50-23 – in the final today.
“Abrar made a tremendous effort to clinch a nail-biting victory for Pakistan,” Gul told The Express Tribune from Haiyang. “He made sure that the scores didn’t get levelled otherwise extra-time would’ve been a different phase altogether and the game could’ve gone either way.”
‘We were under pressure at the start’
Gul revealed that his team were under pressure in the opening minutes as the Indians came out of the blocks very strong. However, the Pakistan team – Nasir Ali, Wajid Ali, Mohammad Khalid, Akhlaq Hussain and Abrar Hussain – stood firm to sustain the challenge and then turned on the heat to in the second period to emerge victorious.
“We’ve a got a minor injury concern as skipper Nasir is injured while the others are a bit tired. But we’re hopeful that we’ll come out on top against Iran to make our nation proud with a gold medal.”
Manager applauds impressive show
Earlier, Pakistan topped their group with three wins while Sri Lanka finished second with four. In the other group, Iran claimed four points while India got two. Team manager Brigadier Iqtidar lauded his side’s effort after the team knocked out the holders.
“It can’t get better than this — to win against India and send the defending champions crashing out of the competition,” he said.
“The prestige of both countries was at stake but thankfully there wasn’t any bad incident despite emotions running high in both camps.”
Published in The Express Tribune, June 22nd, 2012.
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